Best Cafes in Koukaki Neighborhood, Athens
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ cup of coffee to kickstart their day and get ready for the challenges to come? To be honest, my morning doesn’t properly begin until pouring that hot black coffee in my mug, in order to get my things straight and plan my day to the letter. Even when I travel, my one top priority is to locate the places where I can enjoy a proper cup of best-quality coffee.
You might say that I am a caffeine junkie, but I’ve never denied that. That’s why when it comes to having the best coffee experience, mediocrity doesn’t make the cut and you have to know where to find the best places that serve that much-needed top-quality coffee, combined with the appropriate cozy ambiance and kind, smiley people who will make sure to take your experience to the next level. And the best neighborhood in Athens to do that is Koukaki.
When visiting Athens, Koukaki is definitely a must-visit. You may have heard of it before, or read about it in various travel guides, or you might be even checking it out as an accommodation option, since the neighborhood offers a great variety of (budget-friendly) Airbnb’s to choose from. Either way, this is where we’ve spotted some of the greatest coffee places to drink your coffee at, from early in the morning until late in the evening.
1. Bel Ray Bar
Quite easy to locate, full of people, topnotch. These are the words I would use to describe this small café and all that it offers. If you want to combine style and good coffee, then this is exactly the place you need to get to. As already mentioned, it is usually full of people, and sometimes you have to be lucky to find a table to sit, especially during, what I like to call, the coffee drinkers’ rush hour. This usually means that from 6 to 8 pm the place is stuffed with people of all ages, so it would be wise to keep that in mind, if you want to get a seat at a table.
Once you have sat down, however, all you have to do is browse their menu and choose the coffee you want, but rest assured that it is going to be full of flavors. For the food lovers among you, you should totally try accompanying your coffee with something from the brunch menu, if you wish to satisfy your hunger or to tingle your palate with the exquisite and tasteful freshly-made options available. In any case, go with the croque madame and you won’t regret it!
Where: Falirou 88, Koukaki/Athens
If you consider yourself a literary enthusiast, then Lotte is the ideal place for you. Its name, an ode to the heroine of Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, Lotte. Although tiny, it is one of a kind and its coffee one of the best you have ever tried. I don’t know if it is the people working there or the café itself that makes you transcend and travel to another place and time, where you find yourself enjoying your coffee to the sounds of smooth French jazz, classical or Greek music that perfectly adds to the already unparalleled atmosphere. Of course, if you change your mind and coffee isn’t your poison, then go for that homemade lemonade that you should try at least once there. And don’t forget that coffee is better served with something on the side. Therefore, there are a few things on the menu for you to choose from, a flavorful pita or a croissant stuffed with ham, cheese and lettuce for something savory, or a slice of the tastiest and moistiest carrot cake for those of you looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. Pro tip: if you do order the carrot cake, then make sure to order a hot cappuccino to serve it with and you won’t regret it.
Where: Tsami Karatasou 2, Koukaki/Athens
Read also: The Do's And Don'ts When Traveling In Greece
3. Riza Riza
Imagine a place where you can find the perfect coffee. Well, you don’t have just to imagine anymore, because there is Riza Riza. Just a few meters from the Syνgrou-Fix Metro Station, you will find an oasis in the busy life of Athens’s city center. Their coffee is the real deal, but their menu has a lot more to offer. The extraordinary interior design, the exquisite coffee experience and the friendly staff make Riza Riza Koukaki neighborhood’s hotspot for all people in all ages, ideal for families, friendly meetups or couples who wish to get out of their everyday routine and simply hang out. However, Riza Riza is a lot more than just a café: their dishes, prepared with quality Greek products and great expertise, are definitely a must-try. But their pancakes are actually to die for and go great with that coffee you’ve already ordered. Trust me on this!
Where: Drakou 19, Koukaki/Athens
Interested in experiencing something new?
4. Kafeneio “Avli”
Traditional? Modern? I can’t really put my finger on it. What I do know, however, is that “Avli” has it all: traditional elements from the Greek everyday life dating back even to the 1970s with some modern details necessary in order to meet the requirements of the young people you can find here throughout the day, bringing this way the past and the present together in one place.
As a kafeneio, here you can always have that good coffee you’d been searching all these travel guides for, but so much, much more. Open from the morning until late in the night (usually until 3 am, but it can always stay open longer than that) “Avli” is the meeting point for those who would like to start with a cup of coffee, expertly prepared by their baristas, who will ensure to unlock all of its flavors and aromas, and carry on with a cold beer or some wine served with the most tasteful mezedes (tapas), and all these in low prices for every budget.
Where: Georgiou Olympiou 4, Koukaki/Athens
Stylish and modern. An all-day bar with its own particular style, beautiful and different from the nearby cafés and bars of the area. The place is quiet and you will often come across some students sitting next to each other, studying and getting ready for exams, who need Kinono’s one-of-a-kind coffee to make the most out of their studying. So, if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, something quiet with great coffee, or something not too mainstream, then this is your go-to place.
And as the day gives way to night, stick around a bit more, order an aperitivo or one of their bartender’s custom-made cocktails, and don’t miss the opportunity to even mingle with the locals there.
Where: Falirou 48, Koukaki/Athens
Nevertheless, the list can go on forever. Koukaki has so many modern, cozy, homey and alternative places for you to choose from, where you can enjoy that much-needed coffee. Some honorable mentions: Monsieur Barbu (Botsari 49, Koukaki/Athens) will give you a really good coffee and a home-like atmosphere, while Vanilia bistro (Erechthiou 2, Koukaki/Athens) will take you to a journey back to the past, where you can actually enjoy your coffee in a French-like, minimal café, but all that right in the heart of Athens.
Coffee-making is an art and, in these places, you will find some capable artists, who can seriously serve art in a mug. Enjoy!
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Have you been to any of the above places? What was your experience like? Let us know by commenting below!
Text: Spyros Balesias